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Native Plant Nursery

Accreditation  |  Why Local Matters  |  Community Engagement  |  Plant Sales

The Laguna Environmental Center hosts a collaborative native plant nursery between the Laguna Foundation and the Milo Baker Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS). The native plant nursery supports the Laguna Foundation’s mission of restoring the Laguna de Santa Rosa by growing thousands of locally sourced trees, shrubs, and herbaceous perennial plants for habitat restoration and conservation projects.

The Milo Baker Chapter utilizes the nursery to grow native plants for their bi-annual plant sales to expand native habitat into people’s homes and neighborhoods. Partnering with CNPS has improved our nursery operations and enabled us to grow plants for our partner organizations throughout Sonoma County. The nursery is open to the public by appointment and during plant sales in May and October each year.

Accreditation to Improve Restoration (AIR) Certification

Our nursery is certified by the Accreditation to Improve Restoration (AIR) program through UC Davis. This certification is achieved through the implementation of Nursery Best Management Practices. These practices are designed to exclude pathogens like Phytophthora, a group of plant pathogens known for causing devastating diseases like Sudden Oak Death. By implementing these practices, the nursery ensures that its plants are free from pathogens that could otherwise be transported back into natural areas and cause damage to existing ecosystems. Growing our plants on benches in clean pots filled with pasteurized soil takes dedication and increased costs, but we know the benefits are worth the price. We are proud to be one of the few nurseries in the Bay Area to be certified by the AIR program!

Photo Slide: 1: Media and container pasteurizing equipment including steaming trailer, steam generator, fan, and data logger. 2: Oak acorns grown in our nursery on benches in clean pots and media. 3: "Pear Testing" setup to determine if plants are free of Phytophthora.

Why Local Matters

Sonoma County, and the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed, have unique and highly varied micro climates. By collecting site specific seeds and propagation materials, we are able to grow plants specific to the locations where they will eventually be planted. Our local native plant populations have evolved and adapted to these micro climates over long periods of time. Growing plants that are site-specific helps ensure that the habitats that we aim to restore will be resilient and have long term success.

Our Local Projects

  • Riparian (streamside), oak woodland, and chaparral habitat restoration in the Laguna and other local watersheds.
  • Restoring endangered butterfly habitat by growing thousands of their host and nectar plant species.
  • Conserving endangered species through seed amplification of vernal pool plants – the process of growing plants to produce more seeds, that are then put back into their natural habitat to increase plant populations.

Photo Slide: 1: Young Sargent Cypress (Hesperocyparis sargentii) trees grown for Hood Mountain Regional Park. 2: Narrow-leaf milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) the host plant for monarch butterflies. 3: Seed amplification of endangered Burke’s goldfields (Lasthenia burkei) in our hoophouse produced millions of seeds for sowing into local vernal pools..

Community Engagement

Having a native plant nursery on-site lets us directly engage the community in our habitat restoration and conservation efforts. We can host student interns, regular volunteer events, school classes, and Camp Tule summer campers and periodically hold propagation and nursery workshops and classes. We are dedicated to inspiring the next generation through hands-on environmental education.

Photo Slide: 1: Kids at Camp Tule potting up narrow leaf milkweed for monarch butterfly habitat enhancement. 2. Students from Summerfield Waldorf School learning how to sow seeds. 3: Plant propagation class taught by our nursery manager, Ayla Mills, and Betty Young (CNPS). 4: Hosting our amazing volunteers for a fun day of potting up milkweed.

Plant Sales

Every Fall, the Milo Baker Chapter holds a native plant sale at the Laguna Environmental Center on the second Saturday in October. The Laguna Foundation will also have local plants available, and depending on plant availability, we may also have a spring sale. Native plants are great for landscaping because they are drought-tolerant and attract local wildlife and pollinators. The proceeds from the sales help fund nursery improvements and CNPS conservation efforts. Visit our community education page or sign up for our newsletters to learn more about our plant sales. Get there early because our beautiful native plants sell out fast!

Plants Commonly Available at Our Sales
For a full list of available plants, please contact Nursery Program Manager, Ayla Mills

All photos taken by Ayla Mills.
Scientific Name Common Name
Acer macrophyllum Big leaf maple
Achillea millefolium Yarrow
Aesculus californica Buckeye
Arbutus menziesii Madrone
Artemisia douglasiana Mugwort
Asclepias fascicularis Narrowleaf milkweed
Baccharis pilularis Coyotebush
Cornus sericea Redtwig dogwood
Corylus cornuta Hazelnut
Epilobium canum Hummingbird fuchsia
Festuca californica California fescue
Frangula californica Coffeeberry
Grindelia stricta Gumplant
Heteromeles arbutifolia Toyon
Juglans hindsii California walnut
Juncus effusus Common rush
Juncus patens Grey rush
Diplacus grandiflorus Monkeyflower
Lupinus albifrons Silver bush lupine
Monardella villosa Coyotemint
Penstemon heterophyllus Foothill penstemon
Quercus agrifolia Coast live oak
Quercus lobata Valley oak
Rosa californica California rose
Rubus ursinus Blackberry
Sambucus nigra Blue elderberry
Scrophularia californica Beeplant
Sidalcea malviflora Checkerbloom
Stipa pulchra Purple needle grass
Symphoricarpos albus Snowberry
Symphyotrichum chilense California aster

For more information, contact Ayla Mills, Nursery Program Manager
by email at Ayla.Mills@LagunaFoundation.org

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